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Someone Knows My Name: A Novel by Lawrence…
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Someone Knows My Name: A Novel (2007)

by Lawrence Hill

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,6161492,288 (4.33)398
  1. 20
    A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (LDVoorberg)
  2. 64
    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (Bcteagirl)
    Bcteagirl: The book has a similar familial tone and is also told from the point of view of young girls growing up in a difficult situation. I had been looking for a book with a similar writing style and was happy to find this one. If you liked The Book of Negroes I recommend The Poisonwood Bible and vice versa.… (more)
  3. 20
    A Mercy by Toni Morrison (tangentialine)
  4. 20
    The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African by Olaudah Equiano (tangentialine)
  5. 10
    Epic Journeys of Freedom: Runaway Slaves of the American Revolution and Their Global Quest for Liberty by Cassandra Pybus (susanbooks)
    susanbooks: Pybus offers a brilliant nonfiction account of the events in Hill's novel, as well as extending the story to penal colonies in Australia.
  6. 10
    Slave: My True Story by Mende Nazer (_Lana_)
    _Lana_: If you enjoyed reading about slavery in a historical setting you might be interested in a true-tale of slavery’s modern form. Both books also have strong female protagonists.
  7. 10
    The Classic Slave Narratives by Henry Louis Jr Gates (Cecilturtle)
  8. 00
    The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (vancouverdeb)
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» See also 398 mentions

English (140)  Dutch (6)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  All (148)
Showing 1-5 of 140 (next | show all)
Aminata Diallo was a young girl of about twelve when her African village was attacked and she was sold into slavery. Aminata narrates her life story while living out her final days as a free woman among the abolitionists in London. Her journey to London took her through the indigo plantations of South Carolina, Revolutionary War era New York, a Loyalist settlement in Nova Scotia, and Freetown in Sierra Leone. Aminata somehow survived ordeals that killed many of her homelanders. With survival came the grief and loneliness of separations from everyone she loved.

This powerful novel pulls readers into the horrific experiences and emotions of the millions of Africans caught in the net of the slave trade. However, I was always aware that I had a choice. When Aminata's story got too intense, I could put the book down and pick it up later. I could just stop reading without finishing the book. Aminata and the hundreds of thousands of African slaves she represents didn't get that choice. ( )
  cbl_tn | Feb 25, 2017 |
Aminata Diallo was an eleven year old African girl living with her village in the mid-1700's. Her father, a village leader and a learned Muslim, had taught Aminata the Muslim prayers and to read a bit of Arabic. Her mother was a skilled midwife known throughout the region and had taught her skills to Animata from her earliest childhood.

But everything changed when another village attacked Animata's village. Her father and mother were killed, and Animata was forced to march in shackles across hundreds of miles to the coast to be sold as a slave and boarded onto one of the infamous slave ships bound for the American colonies.

We see the horrors of the slave ship through Animata's child eyes. She barely survived the most horrific conditions. Weak and sick, she was sold with the other unsaleables into the devastation of being a non-person, a slave.

Because of her previous education and training with her parents, she was able to covertly learn to read and write English and also became quite valued for her midwifery skills.

During the chaos of a British attack during the American Revolution, she was able to escape to the British lines. There she worked as a scribe for the British who promised freedom to former slaves who would work or fight for them for the duration of the war. When the British were defeated, they convinced the former slaves to sign up for free land and a supposedly free life in Nova Scotia. All blacks transported this way had their names written in a volume called The Book of Negroes, (the original Canadian title of this book).

But promises were broken and Animata continued to search for freedom, her lost children and husband and a life of human dignity.

This novel puts a very human face on slavery and the slave trade through the eyes of an intelligent and resourceful woman. It's a story of betrayal at every level by her masters and white people who portrayed themselves as friends.

In addition it highlights a chapter of black history that I was not aware of. Although I was somewhat familiar with Freetown in Sierra Leone, I found it fascinating that the British sent former slaves to Nova Scotia and the lives they endured there.

3.8 stars
2 vote streamsong | Dec 20, 2016 |
Fictional tale of an African woman who was kidnapped into slavery as a 10 year old girl. Her journey takes her from being dragged through the forest to the Sierra Leone shore to being transported to South Carolina. Using her wits and her indomitable spirit, she manages to force a sale to a more human owner who treats her better and allows her to develop her literacy. Escaping from him on a trip to New York during riots celebrating the American victory over their British overlords, she takes part in a well-intended evacuation of American slaves who had resided in Loyalist territory to Nova Scotia, Canada. But after several years there without the former slaves being awarded the lands that had been promised them, she and over a thousand of her compatriots are carried back to Sierra Leone to set up what's hoped to become a self-sufficient colony. After more years of frustration, she fiinally relocates to London, where she plays a part in the movement which ultimately ends British participation in the transatlantic slave trade. ( )
  dickmanikowski | Dec 12, 2016 |
Excellent historical fiction about an African girl kidnapped and sold into slavery in the British colonies, Charleston, SC, NYC, and then following the British Loyalists to Nova Scotia after 1776 and then Sierra Leone. great story telling and seamless writing - I thoroughly enjoyed this. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
This novel features an African girl named Aminata Diallo, who was abducted around 1756 at the age of 11 and force-marched with other captives from her village in West Africa to the coast of Sierra Leone, where she was shipped to the British colony of South Carolina. Aminata's father, a Muslim, had taught her to read and write some prayers in Arabic, and her mother, a midwife, had begun training her to "catch babies". With these skills to offer, Aminata lives a life which is often more that of a servant than a slave; she is rarely beaten or confined after arriving in America, many of her owners treat her with a measure of respect, and in some circles she is admired as a teacher and midwife. Nevertheless, her status is never that of a free woman and her soul is never at rest. She loses a mentor, a husband, her children, but never loses her dream of returning to the village of her childhood and the freedom she knew there. This is almost [Roots] in reverse---rather than a modern descendant of slaves seeking to learn his family's history we have a victim of the slave trade seeking to return herself to her original home. Upon arrival on the North American continent Aminata is puzzled to be referred to as an "African", as she knows only the names of a handful of villages and a river in her homeland; the concept of "Africa" means nothing to her, and the Atlantic Ocean is simply an enormous terrifying river beyond imagining, which she has managed to cross without dying as so many others died. Later, when she has an opportunity to look at maps of the "Dark Continent", she finds much of it is quite unknown to the mapmakers as well. Aside from a few coastal locations, there are no names on the maps, merely drawings of elephants, bare-breasted women, birds and apes. Although Aminata is not based on any historical figure, there are "real people" in the novel, including Moses Wilkinson, Samuel Fraunces, and the abolitionist brothers Thomas and John Clarkson. Other characters are more loosely connected to people who did exist. I enjoyed this story quite a lot; it is fortified with extensive historical research about a time and a group of people that I had not known about previously. The title of this novel outside the USA was originally [The Book of Negroes], because Aminata is employed for a time registering names and a few personal details of black people who had been loyal to the British crown during the American Revolution, and who were promised freedom and land in Nova Scotia. The actual historical document referred to as Book of Negroes is one of the very few sources of information on black Americans of that time period. Occasionally, when outside the story thinking about it, I felt that Aminata's life was a bit too strange for fiction...the kind of thing that only makes sense if it really happened. In order for her to serve as the narrator of her own story, she had to be personally involved in many different events in several locations, and be particularly well-informed for a slave. For the most part, the author did a fine job accommodating this need without stretching my credulity too heavily. One late development (her reunion with her daughter), however, struck me as utterly improbable and unrealistic, as though the author had felt the need to bring the story round to a relatively happy ending. ( )
1 vote laytonwoman3rd | Nov 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 140 (next | show all)
With mature themes (e.g., a rape scene on the ship, descriptive killings, and sexual situations), this book is suited for older teens. Hill clearly researched multiple and sources to provide an accurate acount of Aminata's heroic journey and brings to life crucial world history. Teens who enjoyed Sharon Draper's Copper Sun will appreciate this page-turning novel.
added by Christa_Josh | editSchool Library Journal, Gregory Lum (Mar 1, 2008)
 
An unforgettable epic, seen through the eyes of a sharply realized, indomitable heroine.
added by Christa_Josh | editBooklist, Sarah Johnson (Oct 15, 2007)
 
Unfortunately, [Hill's] didactic purpose gets the upper hand and overwhelms the story. Aminata is simply too noble to be believable, and other major characters are mainly symbolic. Nevertheless, Hill's fascinating source material makes this a good choice for book clubs and discussion groups.
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Edward St. John (Oct 1, 2007)
 
In depicting a woman who survives history's most trying conditions through force of intelligence and personality, Hill's book is a harrowing, breathtaking tour de force.
added by Christa_Josh | editPublishers Weekly (Sep 3, 2007)
 
Livet som slave: Velbalansert historisk fiksjon om slavehandelen og ondskapens banalitet
added by annek49 | editDagbladet, Cathrine Krøger (Jun 29, 2006)
 

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lawrence Hillprimary authorall editionscalculated
Willems, IneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore choose life.

--Deuteronomy 30:19
So geographers, in Afric-maps,

With savage-pictures fill their gaps;
And o'er unhabitable downs
Place elephants for want of towns.
--Jonathan Swift
Dedication
For my daughter, and kindred spirit, Genevieve Aminata
First words
I seem to have trouble dying.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The Book of Negroes (2007) was published as Someone Knows My Name in the U.S.A, Australia, and New Zealand.
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Publisher Comments:
Abducted from Africa as a child and enslaved in South Carolina, Aminata Diallo thinks only of freedom—and of the knowledge she needs to get home. Sold to an indigo trader who recognizes her intelligence, Aminata is torn from her husband and child and thrown into the chaos of the Revolutionary War. In Manhattan, Aminata helps pen the Book of Negroes, a list of blacks rewarded for service to the king with safe passage to Nova Scotia. There Aminata finds a life of hardship and stinging prejudice. When the British abolitionists come looking for "adventurers" to create a new colony in Sierra Leone, Aminata assists in moving 1,200 Nova Scotians to Africa and aiding the abolitionist cause by revealing the realities of slavery to the British public. This captivating story of one woman's remarkable experience spans six decades and three continents and brings to life a crucial chapter in world history.
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Dreaming of escaping her life of slavery in South Carolina and returning to her African home, slave Aminata Diallo is thrown into the chaos of the Revolutionary War, during which she helps create a list of black people who have been honored for their service to the king.… (more)

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